I didn't realize until today that I've just finished a three sixty attack on the abuse of people with disabilities. On Thursday about 50 people with disabilities came and we had a wonderful time laughing and learning together. Though the topic is serious the workshop is meant to be fun. More than half the participants came up and did a role play, answered a question, or read something from the flip chart. Everytime someone participated the audience applauded. There were two or three women and one man attending who had a real need of the workshop and were fledgling at practicing 'no'. One young woman, came and quietly told me of having talked to the police about being victimized. She wanted me to know that she had taken charge. Had told the truth. "He told me not to say anything," she said, "but sometimes you have to break the rules."
She gave me such hope. Someone who was not rule bound but someone who was a rule breaker. Someone who had taken power back. Someone who refused to live as victim. She got it.
The day before I had done a workshop for teachers at a high school about the need for abuse prevention. To teach children in their care about how to become their own first line of defense. Teachers are notoriously a difficult audience, but these teachers, a few moments in - decided to listen, to take notes and to clearly look at their students. Clearly think about what their children needed. One teacher commented on the fact that they had put in a behaviour programme to bring the classroom under control and that the programme had worked. But that he'd been thinking about the 'real world' and wondering if they indeed were teaching what their students would need to know in order to survive the real world. He understood, for the first time, that 'control' was not what victors learn, he vowed to think differently, think about what he needed to teach. He got it.
Getting up on Saturday to go do a workshop for parents takes an act of mammoth will. At that point I hadn't realized that by doing workshops for parents, for people with disabiliteis, for their teachers and care providers ... the circle could either entrap an abuser or more hopefully engender power. Parents came in slowly, sitting as couples and looking over at me, bald, fat and in a wheelchair and wondering 'oh my ... I'm giving up a Saturday morning for him.' But that passed quickly as we found ourselves talking, asking and answering questions and laughing - flat out laughing. One mother talked about the fact that she had no idea about what education her son had had about sexuality, about abuse prevention ... she hadn't asked those questions. That would change, first thing Monday. She got it.
I fell asleep in the car on the way home. As I've gotten older, I like those moments where sleep creeps up on me and takes me over. Watching television and waking to a new programme. Looking out the window at Wyebridge and waking up driving into Barrie. I like naps on days when the work has been good. Where peace has settled on me, for the moment, and I rest waiting for the next day, the next fight, the next opportuntiy.